Monday, April 22, 2013

Water, Water, Everywhere...

It's hard to believe that only five months ago the flow on the Mississippi River was so low that authorities were planning to shut down the river to barge traffic.  This morning major flooding is occurring along the Mississippi River and many other rivers in the Midwest from the torrential rain over a three-day period last week.

U.S. river observations as of April 22, 2013
From the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

The slow-moving weather system that moved across the country last week left more than 8.0 inches of rain in its wake. This rain fell on ground already saturated from precipitation earlier in the month, and much of the rain ran off into rivers and streams.

7-day precipitation accumulation for the period ending April 21
From the Midwestern Regional Climate Center
The highest precipitation totals reported by CoCoRaHS observers in each state for the period April 17-19 include

8.20      IA-MA-4     Pella 0.7 SE, Marion County
8.10      MI-AN-4     Fennville 0.8 W,  Allegan County
7.43      IL-DP-27     Naperville 2.1 SE,  DuPage County
7.20      IN-BN-2      New Ross 2.0 E, Boone County
6.15      MO-RN-2    Clifton Hill 1.2 SE, Randolph County

Hydrograph for the Illinois River at Peoria.
From the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service
Flood stages approached or exceeded record levels at a number of locations. The Rock River at Moline, IL crested at 16.53 feet, breaking the record of 16.38 feet set on March 6, 2008. The Illinois River at Peoria reached a record level of 29.18 feet this morning breaking the old record of 28.8 feet set in May 1943, and is expected to crest at or above 30 ft. on April 23. The Grand River at Comstock Park in Michigan reached a record level of 17.8 feet on Sunday, April 21, breaking the old record of 17.75 feet set in March 1948.

In addition to flooding on rivers and streams there was widespread urban flooding and overland flooding of fields and rural roads in the affected states.

Here are some links to some photos of the flooding in the Midwest. You may also find other photos at individual NWS office web sites.

Grand River, Michigan flooding

Flooding on Illinois River near Marseilles, IL

Illinois River Flooding, Chillicothe, IL

The U.S. Geological Survey map of streamflow across the country is a picture of "feast or famine", Streamsflows are at very high levels in the Midwest, while they remain much below normal in much of the west and southwest, a mark of the persistent drought.

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